Dempsey Middle School hosts Pacer Games


On Friday morning, students at Dempsey Middle School sprinted across the gym carrying up to three ice cream cones as part of a relay that also involved passing a banana with their feet and finding a hidden cherry.

Thankfully for students and janitorial staff, the ice cream was gym balls, the ice cream cones and bananas were traffic cones, and the cherry was a ping pong ball — all part of an ice cream sundae relay race. The competition was the final part of Pacer Games, a series of competitions for students at the school that began in September with a miniature version of The Little Brown Jug.

Art teacher Melanie Harry, one of the organizers of Friday’s event, said the competitions that were part of Pacer Games have been different every single month, and the ice cream sundae relay was the final competition of the year. She said each month a team earned a trophy, and the team with the most wins will be recognized and rewarded with a pizza party and treats next month.

During Friday’s competition, students had to carry an upside down traffic cone and sprint 50 meters to the other end of the gym, retrieve a scoop of ice cream (a gym ball), and return 50 meters to their teammates. They would pass the cone with the ice cream to the next team member who had to take another empty cone and repeat the process. The third member of the team had to complete the final part of the run carrying three ice cream cones and scoops.

The four students on the team then laid on their back and used their feet to pass a banana (a traffic cone) over their heads to their next team member until they reached the other end of the gym, at which point the team had to find a red ping pong ball under a number of cups and place the “cherry” on top of their “sundae” to win.

Harry told students Friday that the banana component of the competition started as an actual banana in the morning but by the time the final competition took place, the fruit had been swapped for another traffic cone since the bananas had become too soft and “mushy.”

Harry said Pacer Games was a new initiative this year meant to foster a positive community amongst students at the school.

“They get into it and get competitive,” Harry said after the event Friday. “It’s kind of close with who has been winning here and there. This one was going to determine who was going to win. It’s really good for school spirit, and it’s fun to see all of them together and competing and working together.”

Harry said because the teams are selected based on Pacer period and not common interests, it brings students together that normally wouldn’t interact.

“We tend to get fun combinations of kids,” she said.

Harry said she believes Pacer Games has been a success based on how much interest there already is for next year’s competitions.

“The kids really like it. They’re excited, and they’re already asking about next year, and so are the teachers,” Harry said.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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